Overcoming dating discouragement
There is a saying: ‘It was an overnight success after 20 years’ hard work.’ Sometimes dating can feel like that. Are things taking a bit longer than you thought? Sometimes you go through seasons of not getting messages or replies, or not going on dates. Maybe you begin to feel downhearted about this whole looking-for-love thing. Dating discouragement is real!
Let me put a word in for holding on in there and staying the course, because it’s a situation I went through and recognise as part of the process. During my own dating days I kept a diary and it’s all there: ‘No one interesting on the scene at the moment.’ ‘Messages from Tony seem to have dried up.’ ‘Nothing new happening.’
Looking back I realise these were just metaphorical potholes on the relationship road. They did not prevent me reaching my final destination of a loving marriage, which happened in its own good time and was absolutely worth the wait and worth the work.
Because here’s the thing: we are told marriage takes work whereas dating is all about fun, but searching for that right, long-term relationship, like any truly worthwhile life goal, sometimes feels like hard work, tiring, and a hothouse of the emotions. Adrenaline is up and down like a yo-yo causing spurts of energy followed by troughs of disappointment. What can you do to stay positive and work through any discouragement?
One positive mental attitude you can adopt to is to take dating both seriously and lightly at the same time. Sounds crazy and impossible? It worked for me. Deep down I was serious about commitment and meeting that special person, but I also realised that expecting each date to be Mr Perfect would just be adding too much pressure into the mix.
So I told myself that going to meet people was a fun, practical activity, definitely a better use of my time than sitting on the sofa at home in front of the TV. I told myself: ‘I don’t have to be perfect, the date doesn’t have to be perfect, I am just practising social skills and being friendly. I’m going to take each experience at face value and if it develops into something more, that’s a bonus.’
I also had a theory that getting used to meeting and chatting to new people meant that when meeting up with that special someone for the first time, instead of feeling overwhelmed I would be relaxed because it was a social situation I was used to, and this could only benefit getting the relationship started.
I learnt to work through dating discouragement by being proactive. I varied and rotated pictures on my online dating profile and freshened up what I’d written about myself. You never know when a new picture or a new perspective on yourself will suddenly appeal to someone. I broadened out my social reach by not only focusing on the area I lived in, but by searching further afield to include matches from places where I already had a connection, such as family I could visit, thereby instantly giving myself a wider base with lots of potential new people to meet.
Remember that feelings are like waves: they come and go, ebb and flow, like waves crashing onto a beach. Although you might be feeling emotionally negative right now, no doubt a more positive time will come. It’s a big world out there, full of people, and all it takes is one person. Just one. That one person will make any discouragement you’ve had to deal with along the way a thing of the past and completely worthwhile.
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